On a recent Above the Cloud podcast with SurePath Founder Mark MacLeod, a segment that didn’t make the final edit involved a discussion about how there is a growing race among Squarespace, Square, and Shopify to assemble the right package of services in order to become the “one stop shop” to help small businesses run everything from marketing to finance. MacLeod predicted a “turf war in which we will see more and cross-selling.”
While MacLeod didn’t mention website builder Wix in the discussion, Wix clearly wants in on the turf war. This week Wix entered the fray with Ascend, its own take on the all in one, full-stack, small business operating system, or whichever term you prefer for a suite of products designed to help small business owners do all the things they need to do to run their businesses.
The Tech Adoption Index has certainly measured demand among small businesses for the all-in-one product suite. Our most recent wave of research found that 65% of SMBs prefer to have most or all of their cloud-based business tools contained in one suite. Selling these suites has been a bit of a challenge for companies used to selling single products or small bundles with less wide-ranging functionality. In fact, the LSA will be publishing a paper on this topic (commissioned by Camilyo).
Ascend is a suite of 20 products designed to help “entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and small business owners easily start, manage and promote a business online,” according to the product announcement.
The suite is comprehensive, with features for productivity (inbox, tasks and reminders, workflows), back office (invoices, contact manager), and a bigger emphasis on marketing, content and customer experience functionality (email, coupons, SEO, video creator, chat, social posts).
Wix told us that pre-launch testing with small businesses saw some meaningful lift from using the platform. For example, Wix reports that customers using the suite’s chat feature saw a 235% increase in appointment bookings and a 278% increase in repeat visitors. They also reported that Wix customers using the email marketing tool saw a 783% rise in site traffic. It’s important to note that we cannot verify these figures and Wix did not provide sample sizes.
We captured the outtake of our podcast discussion with Mark MacLeod on video, which you can watch here.